tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN April 22, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PDT
documentary on this. susan has been covering this story since day one. >> thank you, don. >> thank you all. have a great weekend. that's it for tonight. cnn special report, downward spiral: aaron hernandez, starts right now. the following is a cnn special report. an astonishing talent. >> he was projected to be one of the best tight ends of his generation. >> he's a very good player. >> turned american tragedy. >> what say you, madam foreperson? >> guilty of murder in first degree. >> superstardom on the field overshadowed by violence and the victims he left behind. >> my god, my son was shot and killed. >> now, the latest turn in this twisted story. >> killed himself in prison. >> the suicide that ended this downward spiral for aaron
hernandez. after dark in boston's theater district, the marquees light up, the historic theaters fill up and the city's hottest dance clubs open up for business. daniel de abreu, an immigrant from the nation of cape verde, loved the nonstop energy and action of the scene. it's where he comes to party with four friends one night in the summer of 2012. he never returns home. dying in a hail of bullets alongside a fellow cape verdian, safiro furtado. family of the men are devastated. >> how difficult has this loss
been, sir, for you as a father? >> at 29 years old, daniel de abreu sent money home to relatives he left behind in cape verde. >> danny is a good boy. danny support the family. the mother and the brother, the sister. >> he was newly married and worked as a janitor while studying english. his american dream -- >> state trooper. >> reporter: state trooper his father ernesto tells me. danny's goal was to become a
police officer like he was back home. it's a sadness that overtakes my life, the mother of danny's friend safiro furtado tells me. mother and son had been separated for ten years while she worked in the u.s. to support him and other family members back home. they were reunited when furtado came to the u.s. just six months before his death. "seeing him was so emotional for me" i was so happy. i had so much joy. >> his plan was to live with his mom and earn money in the u.s. before returning to cape verde and his job as a tour guide. >> translator: he loved the job he had left behind. >> because he used his language skills. >> translator: safiro spoke english, portuguese, creole and french. >> how do you think he had this talent to learn so many different languages?
>> translator: he was so intelligent. i thought my son was going to be someone. >> on that fateful summer night in 2012, furtado, de abreu and three other friends arrive at a nightclub called cure lounge just after midnight and park nearby. >> the victims had traveled to the theater district in a gray 2003 bmw. at approximately 12:30 a.m. the victims entered the foyer area of the cure lounge. >> prosecutors say nothing unusual appears to have happened while the group is inside. the five men leave cure nightclub about 2:00 a.m. and pick up their car at a nearby garage.
de abreu was driving, furtado is in the passenger seat. according to investigators, security cameras show a silver toyota 4runner with rhode island plates following the bmw as it pulls away from the parking garage. de abreu drives three blocks before stopping his car for a red light. prosecutors say that's when the 4runner pulls alongside them and opens fire. rashid sanchez is in the back seat of de abreu's car. >> everything was quick. he probably say something like what's up, negro? and started shooting. it's an automatic gun. you know. i said, danny, talk to me. you hear me? are you okay? and then he died on my hand. >> suffered fatal gunshot wounds to his chest. safiro furtado suffered fatal gunshot wounds to his head. >> as for the three men in the backseat, sanchez and a buddy,
are unharmed. the third is shot in the arm. detectives interview all three survivors, scour security cameras, but never find the shooter. the case grows cold with winter. seven months pass. rivera beach, florida. a man named alexander bradley is shot in the head and left for dead in an industrial park. two men who work in that building hear a gunshot and tell police they rush outside and find the body of a bloody man lying in a fetal position just about here, according to a police report. one of the men asked the victim, who shot you? bradley won't say. not after doctors retrieve a bullet fragment from his head, not after he loses his right
eye. four more months pass. north attleboro, massachusetts, another man is killed, another family shattered. >> who would kill my baby? >> only then do the pieces start to come together. (male #1) it's a little something i've done every night since i was a kid, empty my pocket change into this old jar. it's never much, just what's left after i break a dollar.
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a springtime saturday in boston, massachusetts. just perfect for football. a semi-pro boston bandits are on the field for their first scrimmage of the season. >> nice. >> among those suited up, 27-year-old defensive end odin lloyd. >> odin would eat, sleep, drink football. >> as a teen lloyd dreamed of making it to the nfl. after high school he played for the bandits and worked part-time as a gardener. lloyd's coach says the young man was trying to figure out what he wanted to do next. >> at some point, you realize you're not going to the nfl. this is just going to be for
fun. what do i got to do to start preparing myself for life? >> it would never happen. two days later, on monday, june 17th, 35 miles south of boston, in a town called north attleboro, a jogger discovers lloyd's body behind some warehouses. he's been shot in the torso six times and left face up. there are footprints and .45 caliber shells near his body. tire tracks, too. it doesn't appear to be a robbery. lloyd's cell phone is with him, so is his wallet with cash in it. and the driver's license that identifies him to police. hours later, they break the news to his mother ursula ward. >> i'm sorry, mom, but your son
was shot and killed. my heart stopped in that second. and i fell to the floor. lloyd was the oldest of four children and her only son. he was the center of her heart. >> that was the best gift god ever gave me in my life. >> his sister olivia is also in shock as she calls her brother's best friend, darrell hodge. did she say, he's dead? >> in between the cries and the bawling, darrell, odin's dead. i'll be there in a minute. >> the first thing i asked was who killed my son. >> what do you say to that? i immediately fell to my knees, gave her a hug, wrapped my hand
around her head. i don't know. i says, i don't know. >> but there is a solid lead. inside lloyd's pocket are keys to a chevy suburban rented by aaron hernandez, the aaron hernandez who plays for the new england patriots. >> he was projected to be one of the best tight ends of his generation. >> but why are the keys of an nfl star in odin lloyd's pocket? it turns out they know one another. what's your understanding of how they met? >> they're dating sisters. >> how much do you know that they hung out together?
>> rarely. just two different worlds. buddy had one world and we got our world. >> checking out my new camera. >> but then, the friday before lloyd is killed, hernandez invites lloyd into his world. the two men go clubbing. >> he said he was at the club with mr. hernandez and they were partying and they had a good time. >> and all weekend long lloyd is driving the suburban hernandez has rented, to football practice on saturday, with his friends on sunday afternoon. >> laughing, talking, odin is driving, one hand type driving. later at my aunt's house, he was playing pool. i seen odin make one of the most spectacular shots i've ever seen. >> no chance in hell. >> a good day. >> a great day. >> it's ending as lloyd gets a text from his job saying he had to work the next morning. >> then he got another text asking him to hang out. >> a text from hernandez. >> let's have another great night.
>> hours later, it's already the wee hours of monday morning, lloyd is picked up by a gray altima. his sister shaquilla sees him go. soon after lloyd sends her a series of messages asking if she saw who he left with. the last one tells her, nfl, just so you know. hours later, with police now at her home, she thinks maybe it's a clue. >> she said, the only nfl person he knows is aaron hernandez. >> over the next several days, investigators search hernandez's cars and his home. they remove bags of possible evidence.
then, on june 26th, 2013, nine days after the murder of odin lloyd, hernandez is arrested. and charged with first degree murder. his plea? >> not guilty. >> the patriots release him by the time he reaches the courthouse. >> i and other members of the organization were shocked and disappointed. >> on that very same day, police are searching the house of hernandez's cousin. they believe the football player may have left behind clothing he wore the night of lloyd's murder. they don't find clothes, but what they do find could connect aaron hernandez with two more murders. the dna day sale is he. get your ancestrydna kit. learn about you. and the people and places that led to you. and see yourself... in a new light. ancestrydna. save 20% through wednesday at ancestrydna.com
a leasing company loaned it to him in exchange for promotional work. and it appears to be the one boston police have been trying to find for nearly a year. the one police say was used in the murder of two american dreamers, immigrants daniel de abreu and safiro furtado. >> it was the moment because the car matches up with the car captured on surveillance video. >> hernandez has just been formally charged with one murder. is it possible the nfl star is responsible for three deaths? when you first heard of the possible connection between this young talented new england patriot football player and three murders, what did you think? >> shock. right? this is a marketable, recognizable individual who plays for a super bowl champion
new england patriots. he's catching passes from tom brady. >> once the initial connection is made, boston authorities re-examine surveillance video gathered the year before and come to suspect that hernandez is their killer. the killer they've been searching for. >> they found hernandez in all the key places. they found hernandez obviously at the club but also at a parking area and in a car that matches up with the car that was used in the shooting. >> while the car was gathering cobwebs and two families were grieving, hernandez was cashing
in with the patriots. he signed a $40 million contract extension five weeks after the deaths of de abreu and furtado, on the same day he said this -- >> you can't come here and act reckless and do your own stuff. and i acted the way i wanted to act. but you get changed by bill belichick's way. >> at the time people thought he was talking about marijuana. that he used a lot of marijuana. that he had gotten older, he had gotten mature. doesn't seem like he's talking about marijuana. >> police are in no rush to charge him with the murders of daniel de abreu and safiro furtaddo. he's in jail already without bail, until he can be tried for odin lloyd's death. the idea that hernandez could have murdered three young men shocks those who remember him growing up in bristol, connecticut. >> aaron was our golden boy. he had the family traits. his father and his uncle were standout athletes. >> his older brother d.j. was a sports hero, too. bob montgomery covers high
school sports for the bristol press. >> aaron did track in addition to football he also did basketball. he was described in any sport he played as a man playing with children. >> hernandez's athletic ability was partly genetic, partly parental influence. >> his father was pretty strict. he told me his father used to make him shoot 500 shots sometimes before he went to play with his friends. >> that father/son relationship comes up in jail conversations between sheriff thomas hodgeson and hernandez after his arrest. >> his dad clearly kept him anchored. i saw a closeness with them that i had never seen before. there was something about dennis and aaron, the way they intertwined. it was just -- it was magic in my eyes. >> magic that didn't last, ending when hernandez was just 16 years old. brad mcmillen and andrew rigali were on his basketball team. >> coach walks in and he says dennis has passed away. >> dennis hernandez, aaron's father, his anchor, died unexpectedly after routine
hernia surgery. >> felt uncomfortable to see him so hurt. >> clearly at 16 years old, losing your father, it would be very easy to fall into the lifestyle of following people that don't help you make the best choices. >> one choice he made was to tattoo some of his dad's advice on his arms. >> this is a quote my father always used to give me. if it is to be, it is up to me. basically whatever i want my life to be, it is up to me to make it out that way. >> what he wanted to be was an nfl football star. so in january of 2007, he cut his high school senior year in half and headed to the university of florida, joining star quarterback tim tebow. by april, still long before the gators' season opener, there's trouble off the field.
the rookie teen loses his cool at this popular off campus restaurant. there's an argument between aaron hernandez and the manager over a bill. tim tebow tries to calm things down and settle the check, but according to this police report it all ends with aaron hernandez sucker punching the manager on the left side of his head bursting an ear drum. the manager later tells police university of florida coaches and lawyers have contacted him, and they're working on an agreement. a university spokesman says they are not aware of any settlement. was hernandez on a slippery slope? he was tearing up the field as a
gator, but some who knew him were worried, especially when he was unsupervised away from the game. if you could keep him on one side, he'd be fine, one source put it. the problem was he couldn't stay away from the other side, adding, it was a recipe for disaster. and it was a recipe that included marijuana. hernandez was suspended for using the drug. his past becomes an issue when he enters the nfl draft in 2010 during his junior year at florida. >> teams spent a lot of time on background checks. >> day three, round four. >> prior to the draft, aaron hernandez was projected as a player that could be a first round pick and no later than a second round pick. >> now with another selection, they go aaron hernandez. >> he ends up the 113th pick passed over until the fourth round. >> i have to believe that him
falling so far is more than just a story about marijuana, that there were questions raised and background checks about him that caused teams to say we're going to downgrade him on our draft board. >> ahead, aaron hernandez is formally accused of killing de abreu and furtado. and there's a surprise witness who says he saw it all. (male #1) it's a little something i've done every night since i was a kid, empty my pocket change into this old jar. it's never much, just what's left after i break a dollar. and i never thought i could get quality life insurance with my spare change. neither did i. until i saw a commercial for the colonial penn program. imagine people our age getting life insurance at such an affordable rate. it's true. if you're 50 to 85, you can get guaranteed acceptance life insurance
through the colonial penn program for less than 35 cents a day, just $9.95 a month. there's no medical exam and no health questions. you know, the average cost of a funeral is over $8,300. now that's a big burden to leave your loved ones. add to that credit card balances and final medical bills, and you've got plenty of reasons to call for free information about this valuable coverage. it's easy and affordable to help cover your final expenses through the colonial penn program. as long as you're 50 to 85 you cannot be turned down because of your health. your premium never goes up and your benefit never goes down due to age. plus, your coverage builds cash value over time, money you can borrow against. so don't wait, call now for free information and a free gift. all i did was make a phone call and all of my questions about the colonial penn program were answered. it couldn't have been any easier
bristol county jail, south of boston. in the spring of 2014, it's home for former new england patriot aaron hernandez. as his lawyers prepare to defend him against charges he murdered odin lloyd. but before he goes to trial for killing lloyd, he faces a judge as the prime suspect in two other murders. the 2012 homicides of daniel de abreu and safiro furtado. nearly two full years after the homicides of the cape verdian immigrants, hernandez is indicted, accused of killing de abreu with a shot to the chest and furtado with a bullet to his head. >> aaron hernandez fired a .38
caliber revolver multiple times from the driver's side of his vehicle. >> it's all overwhelming for maria teixeira, safiro furtado's mother, who begins crying almost as soon as she walks into the arraignment. >> translator: it's a sadness that overtakes my life. it's a terrible pain inside me. >> kill and murder safiro furtado. how do you plead to this indictment? >> not guilty. >> evidence suggests that in the months leading up to july 2012, the defendant had become increasingly sensitive and angered by what he believed to be people testing, trying or
otherwise disrespecting him when he frequented nightclubs in the area. >> prosecutors say hernandez has a gun with him when he arrives in boston that night to party with a friend. the two men enter cure lounge within minutes of de abreu and his buddies. it's a coincidence. they don't know one another. shortly after the friends arrive at the club, de abreu bumps into hernandez who spills some of his drink. prosecutors say that accident, spilling a drink, enrages hernandez, and he won't let it go. >> the defendant became angered and increasingly agitated, particularly after mr. de abreu smiled and did not apologize. >> that's it, just a spilled drink is what prosecutors claim sets off hernandez.
>> there was no observed verbal argument between the defendant and mr. de abreu, and there was no physical contact between them beyond that initial bump. >> but prosecutors say hernandez appears boiling mad on security video. later, they say, hernandez and his friend wait for de abreu and his buddies to leave the club and follow them when they drive away. aaron hernandez is now charged in two separate murder cases. there is the murder of odin lloyd and then there's this case, the murder of de abreu and furtado. it appears to be the stronger one. >> the sources of evidence are much stronger at this point than existed with the odin lloyd case. >> stronger for two reasons. first, a gun has been found. >> you have the murder weapon? >> we do. the gun was recovered in a routine traffic stop. >> the car's driver tells police
the gun belongs to her friend who used the vehicle, quote, to visit a football player. investigators say forensic tests prove the gun is the same one used in the boston double murder. the murder weapon in the lloyd case never found. and prosecutors in the lloyd case don't have an eyewitness willing to testify against hernandez. prosecutors in the de abreu/furtado case do. >> we have witnesses, particularly one witness who will apparently say that hernandez did it. >> his name is alexander bradley, the man shot in the eye in florida who refused to tell police who did it. bradley is also the friend with hernandez the night de abreu and furtado are killed. he's talking now, claiming hernandez shot him to shut him up about the double murder. >> he saw, from what we have been told, hernandez open fire at the men in the bmw.
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i said that to him all the time. >> getting aaron hernandez convicted for her son's murder is possible, but not guaranteed. there's no weapon, no motive, no eyewitness testimony. ursula ward enters court a bit worried. >> ladies and gentlemen, on june 16th of 2013 -- >> i have every confidence in the prosecutors, but without a murder weapon, without eyewitness, i have a lot of concern about those things. then i found out there was videos all over. >> ward is talking about the security cameras that seem to be nearly everywhere the night lloyd was killed. those videos, combined with text messages, let prosecutors show jurors what happened that night. five hours before lloyd's
murder -- >> just ask you if you recognize -- >> -- at a restaurant with his fiancee and friends, hernandez is texting his right-hand man, ernest wallace who lives miles away in connecticut. >> hurry your ass up. >> at about the same time he's texting lloyd to arrange a meeting. >> i'm coming to grab that tonight. you gone be around. >> lloyd writes back, all right, where? security cameras show wallace arriving home with a sidekick, carlos ortiz. hernandez isn't home yet, but when he returns after 1:00 a.m., the same security system records him walking with what appears to be a gun. >> in this photo, we can begin to see the outline of the firearm.
>> at 1:12 a.m. cameras on the driveway pick up the men driving away in a rented nissan altima. at 2:10 a.m., they're heading toward odin lloyd's house when they stop at a gas station. >> he went to buy gum. >> blue cotton candy gum. 20 minutes later odin lloyd's sister shaquilla sees the altima pull up in front of their home. >> the car pulled up in the driveway. >> at that time did your brother get in the car? >> yes. >> cell towers and a toll booth camera track the car as it travels toward a secluded area of an industrial park. at 3:22 a.m., lloyd's sister gets a final text from him telling her he's with nfl, just so you know. >> him telling shaquilla that is him telling her he's in trouble and if anything happened to him,
this is who we're supposed to look to. >> but the judge disagrees. ruling it's not proof lloyd thought he was going to die. she bars the message from trial. and the jury never hears it. as lloyd sends the text, headlights in the upper left of this video can be seen pulling into an unlit section of the industrial park. prosecutors say it's the altima. for the next 3 minutes and 40 seconds there is no movement on screen. >> what in jesus name my son was going through at that moment? >> then headlights re-emerge. the time in between, prosecutors say, is when lloyd is shot dead. around that same time, employees working the overnight shift at the industrial park are jolted. >> i heard a loud bang, maybe
four or five times. i thought it was fireworks. >> minutes later, at 3:29 a.m., hernandez's home security system catches the altima pulling up in his driveway. three people get out. odin lloyd isn't one of them. an investigator testifies that impressions he made of the altima's tires match tracks found at the scene. the jury also hears startling testimony from the woman on duty when hernandez returns the rented altima. >> i found a piece of chewed blue bubblicious gum, then run the seat forward and i saw what i thought was a bullet. >> that's the type of gum hernandez purchased hours earlier. and it's not a bullet she finds but a shell casing. a ballistics expert testifies
that casing matches five others found at the murder scene. >> they were fired from the same unknown weapon capable of chambering .45 caliber ammunition. >> the murder weapon, prosecutors believe it's a glock, has never been found. they suspect it's in a box inside this bag. hernandez's fiancee testifies she doesn't know what's in the bag, and that she gets rid of it after hernandez calls her and asks her to ditch it. >> where did you dispose of it? >> in a dumpster. >> and where was the dumpster? >> i don't know. >> the defense does its best to punch holes in the state's case suggesting it was pot, not a gun in that bag. >> what did you recognize that smell to be? >> marijuana. >> and whenever possible they question images in the grainy videos that authorities believe
show who murdered odin lloyd. >> does that appear to be mr. hernandez holding right there? >> it appears to be mr. hernandez and holding something in his hand with something that has a white glow to it. >> glock pistols don't have a white glow to them, do they? >> no, they don't. >> they also cite the lack of motive in this case. >> aaron hernandez had the world at his feet. he had a long-term professional football contract. he was the father to a 7-month-old baby girl. ladies and gentlemen, in june of 2013, aaron hernandez was planning a future, not a murder. >> ahead, a verdict and a new lawyer. (male #1) it's a little something i've done every night since i was a kid, empty my pocket change into this old jar. it's never much, just what's left after i break a dollar. and i never thought i could get quality life insurance with my spare change.
neither did i. until i saw a commercial for the colonial penn program. imagine people our age getting life insurance at such an affordable rate. it's true. if you're 50 to 85, you can get guaranteed acceptance life insurance through the colonial penn program for less than 35 cents a day, just $9.95 a month. there's no medical exam and no health questions. you know, the average cost of a funeral is over $8,300. now that's a big burden to leave your loved ones. add to that credit card balances and final medical bills, and you've got plenty of reasons to call for free information about this valuable coverage. it's easy and affordable to help cover your final expenses through the colonial penn program. as long as you're 50 to 85 you cannot be turned down because of your health. your premium never goes up and your benefit never goes down due to age. plus, your coverage builds cash value over time, money you can borrow against.
so don't wait, call now for free information and a free gift. all i did was make a phone call and all of my questions about the colonial penn program were answered. it couldn't have been any easier and we both got the coverage we should have had for years now. mm-hm, with change to spare. (laughing) (colonial penn jingle)
baby can finally rest in peace. >> her baby may be able to rest in place. the question is will these two get the same results. >> the trial is difficult. what do you tell yourself to try to get through this? >> i ask god to give me strengths and courage to endure this. >> almost two years after the lloyd's verdict, aaron hernandez goes on trial for murdering her son furtado and his friend. a new nationally known lawyer for hernandez, jose bise and alex bradley testifying with
immunity. bradley says he saw it all and hernandez shot him in the face to keep him quite. >> he said what's up now? started firing shots in the car. he fired five shots. five rounds. i heard three clicks. >> you indicated that you and mr. hernandez walked up to the bar. >> he said it started after de abreu hernandez bumps into one another at the club. >> he got mad. he was upset. i kind of grabbed him no, lets just get out of here to avoid conflicts. >> and they showed jurors what they say is a confession by hernandez. tattoos by his right arm, revolvers barrel of five or six
chambers loaded representing according to prosecutors of the five people in the car that night. above the barrel, the words "god forgives" scrolled backward. >> was there of a discussion why mr. hernandez wanted those words backward? >> to view in the mirror. >> who made the decision about the number of chambers? >> the client makes all of the decisions. >> did mr. hernandez make the decision in this case? >> yes. >> on defense, bias argues that tattoos are just tattoos and relentlessly attacks alexander bradley, a man currently in prison for shooting up a nightclub. >> alexander bradley lied. your intent was to get money from aaron hernandez? >> at a point, that became my intent, yes. >> i know you wanted to kill him, too, right?
>> yes. >> because you are a killer. >> objection. >> sustained. >> baez, points the finger at bradley, saying he, not hernandez, killed daniel deabrue, and furtado. >> not guilty of killing deabreu. not guilty of killing furtada. their family is in shocked. >> it goes without saying devastated by today's verdict. a lot of tears and anguish. as for jose baez, he tells tmz he's relieved and he can over turn the lloyd conviction unappealed. he still has many appeals which we'll start taking a look at
baez says. i always felt that was a winnable case. it looks like aaron hernandez has hit a serious patch of good luck. which is why the news on the morning of wednesday, april 19th, is both shocking and inexplicable. >> breaking news this morning, convicted murderer, aaron hernandez, found dead in his cell. massachusetts officials say he hanged himself. >> the same day his former teammates are celebrating their super bowl victory at the white house. hernandez is found hanging by a bed sheet in his cell. the bible verse "john 3:16" written across his forehead. it promises to beeternal life to believers in price.
the prison says it's suicide and that hernandez tried to jam his door from the inside. hernandez's entire legal team is skeptical and promises a thorough investigation. >> whether it's a suicide or not, we don't make that call until it's done. >> why are you skeptical of the conclusion that it's a suicide? >> why are you so quick to accept their word? >> the death of aaron hernandez is not the end of this story. there is more. hernandez was fighting to overturn his conviction in odin lloyd's murder but died before the appeal was complete. according to an old legal rule, that means in the eyes of the law, the murder conviction never happened. technically, leaving aaron hernandez not guilty of killing odin lloyd.
daniel de abreu and furtado, three men murdered. four tragic endings. less than 4 hours before france heads to the polls, the terror attack from thursday casts a dark shadow over a vote that could affect the future of the european union. did russian spies try to use trump advisors including this man, carter page, to infiltrate the campaign. later the story of a little film festival that could become a real player. tell you about cuba's self-described core film festival. >> welcome to our viewers here around the world and the united states, we're live in atlanta. i'm natalie allen. >> and i'm georg